Federal Accounting Standards
Advisory Board
_________________________________________________________________




Statemen...
THE FEDERAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS ADVISORY BOARD

            The Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the
Office of ...
STATEMENT OF FEDERAL FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING CONCEPTS
              MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
STATEMENT OF CONCEPT...
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This document describes the concepts on which the Board relied in
recommending standards for Management'...
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 _______________________________________________________________



--   the possible future effects on ...
MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND
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STATEMENT OF CONCEPTS
           Basic Concept
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20. The performance reports requi...
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TOPICS FOR MD&A                                                17
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TOPICS FOR MD&A                                                21
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TOPICS FOR MD&A                                                25
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APPENDIX A: BASIS FOR CONCLUSIONS
            Background and Project History
                      50. The Board iden...
BASIS FOR CONCLUSIONS                         27
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BASIS FOR CONCLUSIONS                         31
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the G...
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APPENDIX B: GLOSSARY
              Accountability Reports--These reports are
              broader in scope than trad...
34          MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
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Forec...
GLOSSARY                                      35
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o   ...
FASAB Board Members
          David Mosso, Chairman
      Linda Blessing (ending 2/26/99)
       James L Blum (ending 2/24...
MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
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MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

  1. 1. Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board _________________________________________________________________ Statement of Recommended Accounting Concepts Number 3 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS April 1999
  2. 2. THE FEDERAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS ADVISORY BOARD The Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Comptroller General established the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (the FASAB or "the Board") in October 1990 to consider and recommend accounting principles for the United States Government. The Board communicates its recommendations by publishing recommended accounting concepts and standards after considering the financial and budgetary information needs of Congress, executive branch agencies, and other users of federal financial information. The Board also considers comments from the public on its proposed recommendations, which are published for comment as "exposure drafts." The three officials who established the Board then decide whether to adopt the recommendations. If they do, the standard is published by the OMB and the GAO and becomes effective. Additional background information is available from the FASAB, including: (1) the "Memorandum of Understanding among the General Accounting Office, the Department of the Treasury, and the Office of Management and Budget on Federal Government Accounting Standards and a Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board" and (2) the "Mission Statement of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board." Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Wendy M. Comes, Executive Director 441 G Street, NW -- Room 3B18 Washington, DC 20548 Telephone (202) 512-7350 Fax (202) 512-7366 www.financenet.gov/fasab.htm
  3. 3. STATEMENT OF FEDERAL FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING CONCEPTS MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS STATEMENT OF CONCEPTS ........................................ 1 Basic Concept ........................................... 1 Discussion and rationale ............................... 1 Background ............................................. 2 Relationship to other reports .......................... 9 Authoritative status of accounting concepts ............ 11 TOPICS FOR MD&A .............................................. 11 Mission and Organizational Structure .................... 12 Discussion and Analysis of the Financial Statements ..... 12 Financial Results, Position and Condition (12); Budgetary Integrity (13); Use of Estimates (13); Current Demands, Risks, Uncertainties, Events, Conditions, and Trends (14); Future Effects of Current Demands, Risks, Uncertainties, Events, Conditions and Trends (14); Future Effects of Anticipated Future Events, Conditions, and Trends (14); Understanding Financial Reporting (16) Discussion and Analysis of Systems, Controls and Legal Compliance ......................................... 17 Discussion and Analysis of Performance .................. 18 Performance Measurement (18); Understanding Performance Reporting (21) APPENDIX A: BASIS FOR CONCLUSIONS ............................ 22 Background and Project History .......................... 22 Concepts and Standards .................................. 22 Responses to Second Exposure Draft ...................... 23 Incorporation of Guidance in OMB Bulletin 97-01 ........ 24 Management's Assertions ................................. 25 Accountability Reports .................................. 26 Incorporation by Reference .............................. 26 APPENDIX B: GLOSSARY ......................................... 28
  4. 4. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This document describes the concepts on which the Board relied in recommending standards for Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) to be included in general purpose federal financial reports (GPFFR).1 Concepts Statements are not authoritative in the sense that they do not establish standards or principles. Preparers may find them useful, but these concepts are not "prescribed guidelines" for required supplementary information as discussed in section 558 of the Codification of Statements on Auditing Standards published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. No standards or prescribed guidelines for MD&A are presented in this statement of concepts. MD&A is an important vehicle for (1) communicating managers' insights about the reporting entity, (2) increasing the understandability and usefulness of the GPFFR, and (3) providing accessible information about the entity and its operations, service levels, successes, challenges, and future. Some federal agencies also refer to MD&A as the "overview." The basic concept that underlies the standards for MD&A is: Each general purpose federal financial report (GPFFR) should include a section devoted to management's discussion and analysis (MD&A). It should address the reporting entity's performance measures, financial statements, systems and controls, compliance with laws and regulations, and actions taken or planned to address problems. The discussion and analysis of these subjects may be based partly on information contained in reports other than the GPFFR. MD&A also should address significant events, conditions, trends and contingencies that may affect future operations. A separate document titled Standards for Management's Discussion and Analysis presents the standards for MD&A. The standards for MD&A say that MD&A should address: -- the entity's mission and organizational structure; -- the entity's performance goals and results; -- the entity's financial statements; -- the entity's systems, controls, and legal compliance; and 1 The term general purpose federal financial report, abbreviated "GPFFR," is used as a generic term to refer to the report that contains the entity's financial statements that are prepared pursuant to federal accounting principles. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  5. 5. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY _______________________________________________________________ -- the possible future effects on the entity of existing, currently-known demands, risks, uncertainties, events, conditions and trends. The discussion and analysis of these subjects may be based on information in other discrete sections of the GPFFR or it may be based on reports separate from the GPFFR. The standards require MD&A to be included in each GPFFR as required supplementary information (RSI). ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  6. 6. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS STATEMENT OF CONCEPTS Basic Concept 1. Each general purpose federal financial report (GPFFR, see figure 1 on page 4) should include a section devoted to management's discussion and analysis (MD&A).2 MD&A should address the reporting entity's program and financial performance measures, financial statements, systems and controls, compliance with laws and regulations, and actions taken or planned to address problems. The discussion and analysis of these subjects may be based partly on information contained in reports other than the GPFFR. MD&A also should address significant events, conditions, trends and contingencies that may affect future operations. Discussion and rationale 2. A typical GPFFR is a highly summarized profile of a complex entity. It is based on conditions that exist at the reporting date and events that occurred in the preceding period. It shows what has happened, but it does not explain why it happened or what may reasonably be expected to happen in the future. 2 The term general purpose federal financial report, abbreviated "GPFFR," is used as a generic term to refer to the report that contains the entity's financial statements that are prepared and audited pursuant to the CFO Act of 1990, as amended. Entities may refer to these reports using different terms, such as "Annual Report," "Accountability Report," "Financial Management Report," etc. Paragraphs 54-112 and Appendix 1 of Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Concepts 2, Entity and Display, describe and illustrate the contents of the GPFFR. For more information on the "Accountability Report" see paragraph 0 and the glossary. (Other words defined in the glossary are marked with an asterisk.) See also Toward a Report to Citizens on the State of Their Nation and the Performance of Their Government: proceedings of the AGA Task Force on a Report to Citizens on the State of the Nation, Association of Government Accountants, 1994. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  7. 7. 2 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND A _______________________________________________ __________________ 3. Financial reports have two key roles. One is a feedback role to provide information used for evaluating past decisions, expectations, and trends. Another is a predictive role to provide information used for formulating expectations and making decisions about the future. Both roles can be enhanced by insights and interpretations from an entity's management. 4. The managers of an entity have detailed knowledge of the transactions, events, and conditions reflected in the entity's financial report and of the policies that govern the entity's operations. The managers also have informed expectations regarding the future based on that knowledge. As a part of their stewardship responsibility, managers should explain the significance of key financial and nonfinancial information shown in the report, the strategies that led to the results reported, and the implications for future operations of events that have occurred or are likely to occur. The distinction between "financial" and "nonfinancial" information is arbitrary and often tenuous, but in this context "nonfinancial information" can include information on systems, controls, compliance with laws and regulations, and performance. 5. A Federal reporting entity's GPFFR should be understandable and useful to a wide audience, not just members of the entity's management and specialized analysts working for special interest groups, corporations, and other entities affected by the Government's actions. Therefore, the report should be accompanied by a concise narrative discussion and analysis. Even insiders and specialized analysts often need such a discussion and analysis to understand the report. Communication with a wide audience may require effective use of colors, graphs, photographs, and charts. Reporting understandable, accessible information on the Government's actions and the effects of its actions helps assure accountability and provides a more "level playing field" on which the public interest can best be served. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  8. 8. STATEMENT OF CONCEPTS _______________________________________________ __________________ Background 6. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has for many years recognized the importance of such a narrative discussion of the financial statements. To serve the interests of investors and creditors, the SEC requires such a narrative discussion and analysis from management of companies under its purview. The SEC wants MD&A to help readers understand the entity's financial position and results of operations with the benefit of management's understanding and perspective. The SEC also wants MD&A to go beyond the basic financial statements, to include relevant forward-looking information. Research on MD&A for companies registered with the SEC shows that MD&A adds value to the financial statements. Forward- looking information, for example, can be an important contribution.3 7. Several factors suggest that MD&A may be even more important for Federal reporting entities than for those in the private sector and may need to be more extensive in scope. These factors include the complexity of Federal operations, the myriad objectives they pursue, and the diverse nature of the groups affected by and interested in the Government's activities. Fundamentally, the Government's objective is to provide for the common defense and to promote the general welfare, not to earn a profit. Therefore, reporting on performance and other matters in a way that is understandable to diverse audiences is important. For these reasons, both SFFAC 1, Objectives of Federal Financial Reporting, and SFFAC 2, Entity and Display, refer to MD&A in concept as part of the general purpose federal financial report. 3 Research on MD&A in private sector financial reporting suggests that forward- looking information in MD&A, in particular, is a significant source of added value for financial analysts. See Stephen H. Bryan, "Incremental Information Content of Required Disclosures Contained in Management Discussion and Analysis," The Accounting Review Vol. 72 No. 2, (April 1997), pp. 285-301. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  9. 9. 4 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND A _______________________________________________ __________________ 8. Page 4 presents a schematic diagram of a sample GPFFR. It is schematic because the information called for by the statements of federal financial accounting standards should be located in the report in a logical sequence, not necessarily in the order shown. MD&A for the reporting entity as a whole normally will be located immediately after the agency head's letter. Reporting entities that organize their GPFFR by responsibility segment may combine MD&A regarding each segment; alternatively, they may have MD&A for each responsibility segment located separately in each of the respective subsections of the report. Preparers ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  10. 10. STATEMENT OF CONCEPTS 5 _________________________________________________________________ page 4 FIGURE 1: SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF A SAMPLE GENERAL PURPOSE FEDERAL FINANCIAL REPORT Agency Head's Letter Management's Discussion and Analysis (RSI) <--------Other Elements of the General Purpose Federal Financial Report--------> 1. Basic 2. Required 3. Required 4. Performance 5. Other Accompanying 6. Management's financial Supplementary Supplement- Information Information (OAI) assertions and reports statements Stewardship ary Infor- on controls, compliance, and notes, Information mation & corrective actions with (RSSI) (RSI) under FMFIA and FFMIA auditor's (or portions of these report if assertions and reports) audited direct auditors to treat the material incorporated The GPFFR is represented by MD&A plus columns 1-6 by reference as if it were other accompanying of the diagram. (The agency head's letter is part information in an auditor-submitted document. of the GPFFR by general practice, though it is not required by federal accounting principles.) This is SFFAC 2 (paragraphs 106-111 and Appendix 1-F) calls not a literal depiction of the organization of a for a "Statement of Performance Measures" as part report. Information should be presented in a of the GPFFR, but FASAB has not yet recommended logical arrangement. MD&A will address major issues standards for it. Other titles may be used for this that are typically reported in more detail in the section of the GPFFR. Performance indicators discrete sections of the GPFFR or in other publicly available reports that the GPFFR incorporates by reference. Incorporating another report by included in the GPFFR will either be those in the reference does not, by itself, mean that the entity's annual performance report under the separate report is subject to audit. Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA or the Results Act) or a subset of them. Unless law or managerial action requires more Alternatively, that report may be incorporated by extensive audit review or examination of the reference. Until further guidance is available, the material incorporated by reference, the FASAB agency should select the indicators to report in expects that the auditor of the financial consultation with OMB. statements will treat the material incorporated by reference as other accompanying information, although it does not physically accompany the GPFFR. OMB has authority to provide specific guidance on the auditor's minimum responsibility regarding this material. OMB may, for example, ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  11. 11. 6 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _________________________________________________________________ The assertions and report on control called for by the Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA or Integrity Act) would not be stated in full in MD&A. They would be reported in a discrete section of the GPFFR or incorporated in the GPFFR by reference. They are within the scope of MD&A because highly important aspects of systems, compliance, and internal controls should be discussed in MD&A. "Highly important" in this context may imply a higher threshold than "materiality" for the financial statements. If the report also includes financial statements for component entities (bureaus, responsibility segments, etc.), management should use its judgment in organizing the report. The component entities' financial statements may be discussed in separate sections of the report or as subsections of MD&A of the consolidated entity. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  12. 12. STATEMENT OF CONCEPTS _______________________________________________ __________________ have flexibility to structure their report in the manner most appropriate under the circumstances. This diagram, the entire statement of concepts, and the accompanying standards for MD&A are intentionally written in general terms, in light of the evolving practice of performance reporting and accountability reporting in the federal government. The standards for MD&A define in general terms required supplementary information that should accompany financial statements prepared in conformance with federal accounting principles. 9. MD&A should address: o the entity's structure, mission, goals, and objectives, with indicators4 of its performance; o actions taken or planned to improve performance, when appropriate; o the financial statements; o systems, internal controls*,5 and legal compliance, including corrective action taken or planned; and o the future effects of existing, currently- known demands, risks, uncertainties, events, conditions and trends. MD&A may also address the possible future effects of anticipated* future demands, events, conditions, trends, etc. that management believes would be important to the reader of the report. 10. MD&A should address these subjects even if, as will be true for many Federal reporting 4 This document uses the terms "performance measure" and "performance indicator" synonymously. Some people use the term "performance indicator" instead of "performance measure" because the performance of government programs typically involves several factors or dimensions, and many of these dimensions of performance cannot be measured precisely. 5 * Words marked with are defined in the glossary. _____________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Concepts for Management's Discussion and April 1999
  13. 13. 8 MANA _______________________________________________ __________________ entities, separate documents report much of the information in more detail. Information about these subjects is essential to address the objectives of federal financial reporting regarding performance, stewardship, budgetary integrity, and systems and controls. The following paragraphs explain the implications of this. 11. Regarding the entity's mission and performance, MD&A should inform the reader how well the reporting entity is doing. This means that it should tell the reader what the reporting entity and its programs have accomplished, and how well the entity is managing its programs. To do this, MD&A should answer such questions as: o What do we need to know to gauge operating success? o How do we measure what we accomplished? o What do the measurements show? 12. To understand the information on performance, systems, controls, and legal compliance, it typically is necessary to understand something about the reporting entity's organizational structure, mission, and strategic plan. Accordingly, MD&A should concisely inform the reader about these topics. 13. Reporting information that helps people assess the performance of the Government's programs and organizations is an important objective of Federal financial reporting. For governmental entities, in contrast to profit- seeking entities, the financial result of governmental-type activities is rarely an adequate indicator of performance. (For a few governmental entities, mainly those that conduct primarily business-type instead of governmental-type activities, the financial results of operations may be an important, albeit rarely sufficient, performance indicator.) To assess performance, people need additional information on the consequences of the Government's activities. For a competitive, profit-seeking entity, the value of its _____________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Concepts for Management's Discussion and April 1999
  14. 14. STATEMENT OF CONCEPTS _______________________________________________ __________________ products or services is measured by the amount of money customers are willing voluntarily to pay for them. In such a situation, the traditional income statement reports on both the efforts (measured by expenses incurred) and the accomplishments (measured by revenue earned) of the entity. For government, expense reflects efforts, as it does in the private sector, but indicators other than revenue must be used to report on accomplishments. A discrete section of the GPFFR therefore presents indicators of accomplishments (such as indicators of outputs and outcomes) and other indicators of performance. Alternatively, the GPFFR incorporates performance indicators by reference to a separate report such as the Annual Performance Report required by the Results Act. Either way, performance information is an integral part of the GPFFR and should be discussed in MD&A. Management's discussion and analysis should therefore address the most important facets of performance as well as the financial statements and supplementary information. 14. Regarding the financial statements, MD&A should answer questions such as the following, to the extent that they are relevant and important for the entity: o What is the entity's financial position? What is its financial condition?6 How did this come about? o What were the significant variations: --from prior years? --from the budget? --from performance plans, long-term plans, or other relevant plans in addition to 6 The traditional concepts of "financial position" and "financial condition" are typically applicable to revolving funds, Government corporations, and other reporting entities that are intended to be self-financing. The concepts may be less relevant, or may require some qualification or modification, for other kinds of Federal reporting entities. _____________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Concepts for Management's Discussion and April 1999
  15. 15. 10 MANA _______________________________________________ __________________ the budget?7 o What is the potential effect of these factors, of changed circumstances, and of expected future trends? In other words, to the extent that it is feasible to project the effects of these factors, will future financial position, condition, and results, as reflected in future financial statements, probably be different from this year's and, if yes, why? (Any such discussion should acknowledge that the future is unpredictable and will be influenced by factors outside the reporting entity's control, including actions by Congress.) 15. Regarding systems and controls, MD&A should tell the reader whether internal accounting and administrative controls (some authorities prefer the term "management controls") are adequate to ensure that: o transactions are executed in accordance with budgetary and financial laws and other requirements, consistent with the purposes authorized, and are recorded in accordance with Federal accounting standards; o assets are properly acquired and used, safeguarded to deter theft, accidental loss or unauthorized disposition, and fraud; and o performance measurement information is adequately supported. 7 Management should use its judgment to decide what variances are relevant for MD&A. It will not always be essential or appropriate to discuss all variances. _____________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Concepts for Management's Discussion and April 1999
  16. 16. STATEMENT OF CONCEPTS _______________________________________________ __________________ 16. Reporting information that helps people assess the condition of the entity's management systems and of the relevant internal controls is an important objective of Federal financial reporting. The relevant internal controls for this purpose are those that support reporting on financial and operating performance and reporting on compliance with applicable laws.8 The great diversity of people (often with competing interests) affected by governmental action, and the fact that governments function within and by means of a framework of laws, mean that more attention to these matters is necessary than in financial reports for profit- seeking entities. 17. An entity's ability to prepare auditable financial statements and other reliable reports for management from the entity's books and records is a positive signal about the finance- related systems and controls of that entity. By themselves, however, the financial statements of a governmental entity do not provide adequate information about the status of the entity's management systems and internal controls that support reporting on financial and operating performance and reporting on compliance with applicable laws. For these reasons, the GPFFR of a Federal reporting entity should include information about systems, internal controls, and legal compliance, in addition to the basic financial statements. This information--like the information on performance--is presented in a discrete section of the GPFFR; alternatively it may be incorporated in the GPFFR by reference to separate reports such as those required by the Integrity Act. MD&A should therefore address the most important facets of this information on systems, controls and legal compliance, as well as the financial statements, supplementary information, and performance information. 8 Internal controls are also relevant to other objectives. For example, controls help management assure efficient and effective use of resources for the purpose intended. They also support preparation of performance reports pursuant to GPRA. See, for example, paragraph 0. _____________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Concepts for Management's Discussion and April 1999
  17. 17. 12 MANA _______________________________________________ __________________ Relationship to other reports 18. The information in the GPFFR about systems, internal controls, and legal compliance (column 6 in figure 1) may include the assertions and a summary of the reports on controls, legal compliance, and corrective actions pursuant to the Integrity Act and the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act (FFMIA), or those reports may be incorporated by reference. This information should be presented in conformance with guidelines published by OMB. MD&A, in turn, should discuss the most important aspects of the information on these topics. Referring to separately-issued reports on systems and controls does not eliminate the need to discuss these topics in MD&A.9 19. The performance information (column 4 in figure 1) may include the indicators in an entity's performance report pursuant to the Results Act or a selection of the most important performance indicators. Alternatively, a separate performance report may be incorporated by reference. This information should be presented in conformance with guidelines published by OMB. MD&A, in turn, will discuss the most important aspects of the performance information. Reference to a separately-issued performance report does not eliminate the need to discuss performance in MD&A. 9 Note that the purpose of the pilot Accountability Reports is to eliminate the need for numerous separate reports and to include the information required by those reports in a single report. For example, the Integrity Act requires an assertion on controls by the agency head. Pilot agencies are including this assertion in the Accountability Report. _____________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Concepts for Management's Discussion and April 1999
  18. 18. STATEMENT OF CONCEPTS _______________________________________________ __________________ 20. The performance reports required by the Results Act may be voluminous for some agencies. In such cases, it may not be desirable to include all this information in the GPFFR. It is necessary to include at least some information about performance with the financial statements, however, so that people who use the GPFFR can understand why the costs reported in the financial statements were incurred and the consequences of doing so. 21. In the same way, the GPFFR by itself may not provide a comprehensive report on systems, controls and legal compliance. There may be voluminous reports from management and auditors on these topics. It is necessary to include at least some information about these topics, however, so that users of the GPFFR can understand whether the resources on which it reports were properly safeguarded and used for the purposes intended, whether reliable reports can be prepared, and whether the other objectives of internal controls are being met. This information is important both to provide a basis for understanding the financial statements themselves and to address the objectives of federal financial reporting. 22. Combining information on these topics adds value by putting the information about performance, internal controls, and systems in the context of audited financial statements. For example, the quality of information on the cost of outputs and outcomes of programs is enhanced by linking these indicators to the audited Statement of Net Cost. This is true even though the Statement of Net Cost may be too highly aggregated to identify separately all the programs reported on for the Results Act. Similarly, the auditor's tests of transactions and controls in connection with the audit of the financial statements provide information about the condition of the systems and controls used to safeguard resources and to assure that they are used for the intended purposes, in conformance with law. (Paragraphs 0 and 0-0 say more about the discussion and analysis of systems, controls, and performance.) _____________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Concepts for Management's Discussion and April 1999
  19. 19. 14 MANA _______________________________________________ __________________ Authoritative status of accounting concepts 23. This Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Concepts describes ideas and goals to guide the Board in its work. Concepts are not authoritative in the sense that they do not constitute accounting standards or principles for federal reporting entities. In particular, they are not "prescribed guidelines" for required supplementary information as discussed in section 558 of the Codification of Statements on Auditing Standards published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. TOPICS FOR MD&A 24. This section provides specific suggestions for the content of MD&A. Like the other sections of this document, this material does not constitute accounting standards or principles for federal reporting entities. Except to the extent that OMB may issue supplementary mandatory guidance regarding the content of MD&A, the following items should be read as suggestions to be considered, not as prescriptive rules that must be followed. Mission and Organizational Structure 25. MD&A should contain a brief description of the mission(s) of the entity and describe its related organizational structure. _____________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Concepts for Management's Discussion and April 1999
  20. 20. TOPICS FOR MD&A 15 _________________________________________________________________ Discussion and Analysis of the Financial Statements10 26. Financial Results, Position and Condition-- MD&A should help those who read it to understand the entity's financial results and financial position and the entity's effect on the financial position and condition of the Government.11 It should give readers the benefit of management's understanding of the significance and potential effect from both a short- and a long-term perspective of: o the variations discussed in paragraph 0 in terms of major changes in types or amounts of assets, liabilities, costs, revenues, obligations and outlays; o particular balances and amounts shown in the basic financial statements, including the notes, such as those dealing with dedicated collections or trust funds, if relevant to important financial management issues and concerns; and o the entity's required supplementary stewardship information (because RSSI describes economic conditions that cannot be expressed in the basic financial statements). 27. Only those variations, balances and amounts, and stewardship matters of potential interest to readers who are not part of agency management should be discussed. Not all changes that are material to the GPFFR are sufficiently important to be included in MD&A. A line-by- line analysis of the financial statements is not generally appropriate. Instead, MD&A should summarize the most important items, explain the relevant causes and effects, and place them in context. 10 For many readers program performance information is more important than the financial statements. The order in which topics are discussed in this document does not imply that performance information is of secondary importance. See paragraphs 43 and following. 11 Materiality of effects to be discussed should be evaluated in the context of the specific reporting entity, not the Government as a whole. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  21. 21. 16 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _________________________________________________________________ 28. Budgetary Integrity--MD&A should concisely explain how budgetary resources have been obtained and used, instances in which their acquisition and use were not in accordance with legal authorization, the status of budgetary resources, and how information on the use of budgetary resources relates to information on the cost of program operations. MD&A should explain when major support for cost of a program or activity is provided outside the reporting entity's budget and when the entity's budget supports a program primarily reported by another entity. The discussion should describe major financing arrangements, guarantees, and lines of credit, including those not recognized in the basic financial statements. 29. MD&A should explain major changes during the period to the budget originally approved, major failures to comply with finance-related laws, and other matters management believes necessary. These could include: o unfunded liabilities that may require appropriations; o assets that could be sold to augment future budgetary resources; o amounts of payments that have not been matched with obligations; o anticipated increases in the cost to complete long-term projects in progress that may require additional obligations or appropriations. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  22. 22. TOPICS FOR MD&A 17 _________________________________________________________________ 30. Use of Estimates--MD&A should concisely explain the use of estimates where that is important to understand issues discussed in MD&A, such as the major risks and uncertainties mentioned in paragraph 0 or the key forward- looking information discussed in paragraph 0. For example, the future expenses and the long term obligations12 associated with major social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare should be discussed in MD&A of the financial report of the relevant reporting entities. These estimates are inherently imprecise and sensitive to several assumptions. Such factors would, therefore, be worthy of discussion in MD&A. 31. Current Demands, Risks, Uncertainties, Events, Conditions, and Trends--MD&A should describe important existing, currently-known demands, risks, uncertainties, events, conditions and trends--both favorable and unfavorable--that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and supplementary information. The information called for by this paragraph and paragraph 0 is closely related. Preparers should combine the presentation of this information in whatever fashion is appropriate under the circumstances that apply to the reporting entity. 32. Future Effects of Current Demands, Risks, Uncertainties, Events, Conditions and Trends-- The discussion of these current factors should go beyond a mere description of existing conditions, such as demographic characteristics, claims, deferred maintenance, commitments13 undertaken, and major unfunded liabilities, to include a discussion of the possible future effect of those factors. (This discussion of possible future effects of existing, currently-known factors is required pursuant to the standards in Standards for Management's Discussion and Analysis.) 12 The term "obligations" is used here in the customary sense, not as it is used in budgetary accounting. 13 The term "commitments" is used here in its customary sense, not as it is used in budgetary accounting. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  23. 23. 18 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _________________________________________________________________ 33. Future Effects of Anticipated Future Events, Conditions, and Trends--To the extent feasible and appropriate, the discussion should also encompass the possible future effects of anticipated future events, conditions, and trends, although this additional information is not required by the standards for MD&A.14 For example, MD&A might discuss the possible future effect of anticipated trends in the cost of inputs that may significantly affect future output costs. Other examples include the future effect of anticipated demographic trends, such as declining mortality rates, and the future effects of potential changes in behavior that may be caused by changes in Government programs. Such behavioral changes can greatly affect the future cost of some Governmental programs. For example, such effects can arise if subsidized insurance encourages the people or entities most at risk to participate in insurance programs ("adverse selection") or encourages risky behavior ("moral hazard"). 34. An anticipated condition such as a prospective demographic trend or potential behavioral change may not, in itself, constitute a contingency or assumed risk that must be recognized, disclosed, or reported pursuant to SFFAS 5. Likewise, it may not be something that must be discussed in MD&A pursuant to the Standards for Management's Discussion and Analysis. Even so, if there is a reasonable prospect of a major effect on the reporting entity due to the anticipated condition, then MD&A should include this information to the extent feasible. 14 Some projections that could involve consideration of anticipated factors would be presented as required supplementary stewardship information pursuant to the standards exposed for comment in FASAB's exposure draft Accounting for Social Insurance, February, 1998. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  24. 24. TOPICS FOR MD&A 19 _________________________________________________________________ 35. Where appropriate, the description of possible future effects of both existing and anticipated factors should include quantitative forecasts* or projections*. Such forecasts or projections can show the implications of existing policies and conditions in light of anticipated or reasonably possible future conditions. For example, for MD&A of the Government-wide financial statements, long-term projections of the deficit or surplus may be important indicators of financial condition and sustainability. For insurance programs, this kind of projection--which actuaries sometimes call "dynamic analysis"--would consider possible interactions among current assets, reserves, policies in force, expected future business or populations covered by the insurance, and potential behavioral changes such as adverse selection and moral hazard, if appropriate. Some programs are inter-related among themselves and/or with conditions in the private sector. For example, flood insurance programs and disaster assistance programs may be related to such an extent that analysis of programs individually would not provide a good idea of their potential impact on the Government. To the extent feasible, projections should consider the potential implications of such relationships. 36. The future implications of current or anticipated factors often can better be expressed as a range of possible outcomes and associated probabilities than as a single point estimate. Sometimes the implications may best be discussed in nonfinancial as well as financial terms. Forward-looking information can be highly useful, but management should avoid turning this part of MD&A into mere "lobbying" for more budgetary authority. 37. Understanding Financial Reporting--MD&A should make federal financial statements understandable to a wide audience, not just to users who are specialized analysts or members of the entity's management. There may be many potential sources of misunderstanding. Management should try to identify those sources of misunderstanding that may be important and deal with them in MD&A. Some of these are general and pervasive, such as those that may ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  25. 25. 20 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _________________________________________________________________ arise in the minds of new users of federal financial statements. New users may have been budget-oriented rather than accrual-accounting oriented, or may be accustomed to seeing financial statements prepared on the basis of private sector accounting standards. A general discussion and reference to the Statement of Financing and the basis of accounting footnote may be sufficient for such users, although more specific treatment may be appropriate where the resulting differences in the reported amounts may be important to the understanding of users. 38. Emphasis that may be given in the financial statements to the costs of suborganizations and programs may require cautionary discussion of the relevance and utility of cost information. When MD&A itself discusses the cost of program outcomes, the problems of associating costs with outcomes may need to be discussed. In addition, the possible imprecision of cost information should be mentioned when it could be relevant to users' understanding. Similarly, any account-level discussion in MD&A of variations, balances, and amounts in the basic and stewardship information made in response to paragraphs 0 and 0 may require mention of the imprecision of amounts cited. 39. Exceptions and disclaimers in the auditor's report should be mentioned in MD&A, and management should respect the auditor's professional judgment if management expresses disagreement with auditor's findings. (This does not mean that management must refrain from stating views that differ from the auditor's; e.g., different views as to whether a weakness in control is material.) There may be other sources of misunderstanding. Management should be sensitive to them and guide the user to a better understanding when the problem could significantly affect the conclusions and judgments of substantial numbers of users. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  26. 26. TOPICS FOR MD&A 21 _________________________________________________________________ Discussion and Analysis of Systems, Controls and Legal Compliance 40. The schematic diagram of a sample GPFFR on page 4 includes a discrete section that reports on the status of the entity's management systems and internal controls that support (1) preparation of financial statements and performance information in accordance with Federal Accounting Standards and management's criteria, respectively, and (2) the entity's compliance with applicable laws.15 That section also describes material problems revealed by audits or otherwise known to management, and the corrective actions taken or planned regarding material problems. 41. Where relevant, management should discuss the results of audits of non-Federal entities such as those pursuant to the Single Audit Act as amended and OMB Circular A-133. MD&A should also discuss actions taken, in progress, or planned to address systemic problems in program design that contributed to the audit findings. Where relevant, management should describe the methods used to limit, detect, and recover improper payments; to assure that grantees and other nonfederal recipients of Federal funds use the funds as intended; and to assure that Federal and nonfederal entities comply with finance-related laws and regulations. MD&A should include a concise description of any major problems in these areas and of the corrective action taken or planned. Discussion and Analysis of Performance 15 These responsibilities are defined in numerous laws and administrative requirements, including the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act, OMB Circulars A-123 and A-127, and OMB Bulletin 98-08. A law of special importance in this connection is the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act of 1982 (FMFIA or the Integrity Act). The Integrity Act requires, in part, that "internal accounting and administrative controls of each executive agency shall be established . . . and shall provide reasonable assurances that-- (i) obligations and costs are in compliance with applicable law; (ii) funds, property, and other assets are safeguarded against waste, loss, unauthorized use, or misappropriation; and (iii) revenues and expenditures applicable to agency operations are properly recorded and accounted for to permit the preparation of accounts and reliable financial and statistical reports and to maintain accountability over the assets." ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  27. 27. 22 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _________________________________________________________________ 42. Performance Measurement--The objectives and needs of the Federal Government are markedly different from the objectives and needs of non- governmental organizations. This difference extends to the needs of those who use financial statements of governmental organizations. Their needs are different in many ways from the needs of investors, which the SEC's requirements address. In particular, reporting on the performance of governmental programs, organizations, and activities requires information that goes beyond the change in net assets and, indeed, beyond financial information. 43. The actual outcomes, accomplishments, or degree to which predetermined objectives are met provide indicators or measures of some aspects of effectiveness.16 MD&A should objectively discuss the entity's program results and indicate the extent to which its programs are achieving their intended objectives.17 Efficiency and effectiveness are important elements of performance measurement, and measuring cost is an integral part of assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of programs. Relating outputs (the quantity of services provided) to inputs (the cost incurred to provide the services) provides an indicator or measure of one aspect of efficiency. Information about effectiveness is often combined with cost information to help assess "cost effectiveness." 16 SFFAC 1, paragraph 206 notes that, to the extent feasible and practical, effectiveness evaluation should focus on program results or effects in the sense of "impacts*," i.e., the difference between what actually occurred and what would have occurred in the absence of the program. Assessing impacts of Governmental action in this sense typically requires program evaluations or other techniques that transcend annual performance reporting, although these techniques often will avail of information in the annual performance reports. Valid and reliable evaluations of program impacts are not feasible for some programs. When they are conducted, they often require several years of data, are expensive, and typically are not performed on an annual basis for a given program. 17 Paragraphs 106-111 and Appendix 1-F of Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Concepts 2, Entity and Display, discuss and illustrate reporting on performance in the GPFFR. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  28. 28. TOPICS FOR MD&A 23 _________________________________________________________________ 44. The entity's financial performance should be summarized to provide significant indicators of its financial operations for the reporting period. Indicators of financial performance are presented in notes and supplementary information as well as on the face of the principal financial statements, e.g., information about management of loans and accounts receivable. Financial performance is only one aspect of performance for governmental entities. Financial performance should be discussed to the extent relevant for the entity, in a way that appropriately balances the discussion of financial and nonfinancial performance relevant to the program or other reporting entity. 45. The discussion of performance should relate to major goals and objectives from the agency's strategic plan and to the indicators reported pursuant to the Results Act. It should explain what key performance indicators say about program performance. The summary discussion of performance in MD&A should: o discuss the strategies and resources the agency uses to achieve its performance goals; o provide a clear picture of actual and planned performance across the agency; and o explain the procedures that management has designed and followed to provide reasonable assurance that the reported performance information is relevant and reliable. 46. The discussion of performance should: o include both positive and negative results; o present historical and future trends, if relevant (see paragraphs 0-0 regarding projections of the financial effects of known and anticipated demands, commitments, events, risks, uncertainties or trends for which a material financial effect is reasonably possible); o be illustrated with charts and graphs, ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  29. 29. 24 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _________________________________________________________________ whenever helpful, for easy identification of trends; o explain the significance of the trends; o provide comparison of actual results to goals or benchmarks; o explain variations from goals and plans; and o provide other explanatory information that management believes readers will need to understand the significance of the indicators, the results, and any variations from goals or plans. 47. To further enhance the usefulness of the information, agencies should include an explanation of what needs to be done and what they plan to do to improve program performance. 48. Understanding Performance Reporting-- Important limitations and difficulties associated with performance measurement and reporting should be noted to the extent relevant to the vital performance indicators discussed in MD&A. The relevant limitations will vary from program to program, but some common factors that may need to be discussed include the following: o performance usually cannot be fully described by a single indicator; o indicators of performance do not, by themselves, say why performance is at the level reported; and o focusing exclusively on quantifiable indicators can sometimes have unintended consequences. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  30. 30. TOPICS FOR MD&A 25 _________________________________________________________________ 49. For these and other reasons, performance indicators generally need to be accompanied by suitable explanatory information. Explanatory information helps report users understand reported indicators, assess the reporting entity's performance, and evaluate the significance of underlying factors that may have affected the reported performance. Explanatory information may include, for example, information about factors substantially outside the entity's control, as well as information about factors over which the entity has significant control. This Statement of Recommended Concepts was adopted unanimo usly by the eight members of the Federal Account ing Standar ds Advisor y Board serving on the Board in April 1999. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  31. 31. 26 APPENDIX A: BASIS FOR CONCLUSIONS Background and Project History 50. The Board identified MD&A as a topic for its agenda shortly after the Board's inception. The Board deferred work on this topic, however, until it completed recommendations for an initial set of basic accounting standards. FASAB published an initial exposure draft on MD&A in January, 1997. The Board received comment letters on the initial exposure draft from the following sources: FEDERAL NONFEDERAL TOTAL (internal) (external) 18 USERS, ACADEMICS AND OTHERS 4 4 AUDITORS 7 3 10 PREPARERS AND FINANCIAL 16 16 MANAGERS TOTALS 23 7 30 51. The basic rationale for MD&A has not changed since the initial exposure draft. As a result of its deliberations after receiving comments on the 1997 exposure draft, however, the Board made certain changes. The more significant changes are discussed below. 18 This category includes representational organizations, retired federal employees, federal employees responding as individuals, and federal contractors, as well as academics and other GPFFR users. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  32. 32. BASIS FOR CONCLUSIONS 27 _______________________________________________ __________________ Concepts and Standards 52. The initial exposure draft was presented as a statement of recommended concepts. The Board proposed that it would deal with MD&A conceptually, with the understanding that OMB would provide authoritative guidance on MD&A to implement the concepts. This approach would have been similar to the one used to deal with the topics of entity and display. The Board dealt with those topics conceptually in SFFAC 2. OMB then provided authoritative guidance in its Bulletin on Form and Content. The 1997 exposure draft asked respondents whether all or part of its provisions should be issued as recommended standards rather than recommended concepts. Responses were mixed; most of those who commented on this question favored concepts, but a significant number expressed the view that standards would be appropriate. 53. The Board concluded that, given the importance of MD&A as an integral part of the GPFFR, it would be appropriate to recommend standards for MD&A. At the same time, however, the Board concluded that for now this information should be treated as required supplementary information. The Board also agreed that no detailed requirements or guidelines for MD&A should be incorporated in federal accounting standards at this time beyond those proposed in the subsequent exposure draft (discussed below) titled Standards for Management's Discussion and Analysis. In other words, the Board agreed, a discussion and analysis that addresses the topics listed in the proposed standards should be an essential part of a complete GPFFR. At the same time, management should have great discretion about what to say regarding those topics, subject only to the criteria proposed in the exposure draft Standards for Management's Discussion and Analysis and the pervasive requirement that MD&A not be misleading. Because of this change, the Board decided to expose separately for further comment the proposed new standards and concepts. The exposure drafts were issued in October 1998; responses were requested by January 1999. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  33. 33. 28 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _______________________________________________ __________________ Responses to Second Exposure Draft 54. The Board received comment letters on the second exposure draft from the following sources: FEDERAL NONFEDERAL TOTAL (internal) (external) CITIZENS, USERS, ACADEMICS 3 3 AND OTHERS AUDITORS19 3 3 6 PREPARERS AND FINANCIAL 11 11 MANAGERS TOTALS 14 6 20 55. Most comments were generally favorable, but comments were mixed regarding some points. A few auditors and preparers expressed some concern about requiring forward-looking information as RSI. Others expressed support for doing so. After considering these responses, the Board agreed to defer the recommended implementation date of the standard by one year and to make minor editorial changes to the standards and concepts that were exposed for comment. 19 Includes the AICPA's Federal Accounting and Auditing Subcommittee and the Comptroller General's Advisory Council on Government Audit Standards. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  34. 34. BASIS FOR CONCLUSIONS 29 _______________________________________________ __________________ Incorporation of Guidance in OMB Bulletin 97-01 56. This document, like both exposure drafts, integrates some of the guidance in OMB Bulletin 97-01 for preparing the "Overview" of the financial report with some of the guidance proposed in FASAB's initial exposure draft for MD&A. Some portions of the guidance regarding performance measurement in 97-01's discussion of the "Overview" have been omitted. As an interim step prior to implementation of the Results Act, OMB and many agencies used the Overview as a major vehicle for reporting on performance, not just as a summary and analysis. With the full implementation of the Results Act in FY 1999, however, it will be appropriate to implement the financial reporting model contemplated in SFFAC 2. This contemplates a discrete section of the GPFFR focused on performance. Alternatively, performance information may be incorporated in the GPFFR by reference to another report or reports. Management's Assertions 57. Senior management of the reporting unit is responsible for the content of the GPFFR, including MD&A. Consistent with that, the initial exposure draft included the following paragraph: MD&A should include a discrete section with management's explicit assertions that it is responsible for maintaining internal accounting and administrative controls that are adequate to ensure that o transactions are executed in accordance with budgetary and financial laws and other requirements, consistent with the purposes authorized, and are recorded in accordance with Federal accounting standards; o assets are properly safeguarded to deter fraud, waste, and abuse; and o performance measurement information is adequately supported. [footnote omitted] 58. This paragraph, which was based on the language of objective four in SFFAC 1, was modified after the first exposure. The Board ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  35. 35. 30 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _______________________________________________ __________________ concluded that such assertions should be presented in a separate section of the GPFFR, not in MD&A. Alternatively, management's assertions about internal control and related information about systems, controls, and compliance may be incorporated in the GPFFR by reference to another report or reports. (As noted previously, pilot agencies are including these assertions in their accountability reports.) FASAB expects to consider whether a new statement of standards is needed to assure that Federal financial reports adequately address objective four of Federal financial reporting, "Systems and Controls." As noted in paragraph 0, MD&A should include a description of any major deficiencies in the management systems and internal controls designed to provide reasonable assurance that management responsibilities are satisfactorily carried out. It also should describe the corrective action planned. Accountability Reports 59. The Board notes that the concept and practice of the "Accountability Report" continue to evolve through the pilot project voluntarily undertaken by several agencies. The Board supports this evolution and encourages agencies to participate in the pilot project. The concepts and standards FASAB recommends are intended to be applicable to the GPFFR of Federal entities, whether those reports are prepared pursuant to the Chief Financial Officers Act, the Government Management Reform Act, or some future law that might establish a statutory basis for Accountability Reports. In the event of such future legislation, OMB will need to resolve any questions about how to apply existing Federal accounting standards in the context of new legislative requirements. Incorporation by Reference 60. Some respondents were disturbed by the notion of providing program performance information through reference. Some were concerned that, if readers are merely directed to other reports for this information, the GPFFR will become irrelevant. They believe that ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  36. 36. BASIS FOR CONCLUSIONS 31 _______________________________________________ __________________ the GPFFR should contain information about program performance, systems, and controls, not only in MD&A but also in discrete sections, such as the Statement of Program Performance discussed and illustrated in SFFAC 2, paragraphs 106-111 and Appendix 1-F. 61. The Board agrees that, as is stated in paragraph 0, "it is necessary to include at least some information about performance with the financial statements . . . so that people who use the GPFFR can understand why the costs reported in the financial statements were incurred and the consequences of doing so." 62. The Board acknowledges that SFFAC 2 calls for and illustrates a Statement of Program Performance Measures. (Footnote 13 in SFFAC 2 explains that this statement is not "basic" information as that term is used in audit standards: "The Statement of program performance measures is not a basic financial statement. Nevertheless, it is an important component of the financial reports.") The Board continues to believe that performance information is a vital, integral part of general purpose financial reporting. It should be noted, however, that SFFAC 1 and SFFAC 2 were issued before the performance planning and reporting requirements of GPRA became effective. The Results Act creates an elaborate new planning and reporting environment that is still evolving. Some details of the reporting model that were envisioned conceptually in SFFAC 2 may accordingly need to be revised slightly. 63. This statement of concepts is intended to be consistent with the previously stated goals and concepts of the Board, while recognizing that some details of how best to achieve those goals in the new context still need to be defined. OMB will play a key role in this process; FASAB may also provide further guidance in future projects. FASAB agrees that the GPFFR should not address performance, systems, and controls only by means of reference to other reports. The standards for MD&A require that MD&A do more than refer to other documents. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  37. 37. 32 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _______________________________________________ __________________ 64. Others expressed concern that, if MD&A is to be regarded as RSI, audit problems might arise from "incorporation by reference" in MD&A of information drawn from other sources that might not be subject to audit or review as basic or required supplementary information, and for which authoritative guidance had not been provided by a standard setter. The Board noted that most of those who commented, including most auditors, did not appear to be greatly concerned about this potential problem. The Board concluded, therefore, that any such problems were not likely to be insurmountable. The Board did, however, agree to defer by one year the implementation date of the standard to allow OMB and GAO time to resolve any audit issues that may arise. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  38. 38. 33 APPENDIX B: GLOSSARY Accountability Reports--These reports are broader in scope than traditional general purpose financial reports. As explained by OMB: "Six pilot agencies volunteered to produce an 'Accountability Report' for FY 1995 to provide more useful information to decision makers by linking together information required by several management statutes. . . . Accountability Reports integrate the following information: the FMFIA report, the CFOs Act Annual Report (including audited financial statements); management's Report on Final Action as required by the IG Act; Civil Monetary Penalty and Prompt Payment Act reports; and available information on agency performance compared with its stated goals and objectives, in preparation for implementation of GPRA." Federal Financial Management Status Report and Five Year Plan, June 1996, pages 33- 34. Twelve agencies produced accountability reports for FY 1997; eighteen plan to do so for FY 1998; the number will increase to 23 for FY 2000. (The requirement to include Civil Monetary Penalty and Prompt Payment Act reports has been deleted.) Anticipated--The word "anticipated" is used in a broad, generic sense in this document. In this context the term may encompass both "probable" losses arising from events that have occurred, which should be recognized on the face of the basic or "principal" financial statements, as well as "reasonably possible" losses arising from events that have occurred, which should be disclosed in notes to those statements. "Anticipated" may include the effects of future events that are deemed probable, for which a financial forecast would be appropriate. The term may also encompass hypothetical future trends or events that are not necessarily deemed probable, for which financial projections may be appropriate. (See below for definitions of "forecast" and "projection.") ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  39. 39. 34 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS _______________________________________________ __________________ Forecast--The term "forecast" in this document refers to prospective financial information, including but not limited to prospective financial statements, based on management's assumptions about future conditions and actions that are deemed probable during the period covered. Forecasts are distinguished from "projections," which provide prospective financial information based on one or more hypothetical assumptions or sets of assumptions. The hypothetical assumptions used in projections relate to future conditions and actions that may occur, but which are not necessarily deemed probable to occur. Both forecasts and projections may contain a range. Impacts--In the context of discussing performance measurement, SFFAC 1 defines "impacts" as the difference between what actually occurred and what would have occurred in the absence of a Government program. SFFAC 1, paragraph 206 notes that, to the extent feasible and practical, effectiveness evaluation should focus on program results or effects in the sense of "impacts." Assessing impacts of Governmental action in this sense typically requires program evaluations or other techniques that transcend annual performance reporting, though these techniques often will avail of information in the annual performance reports. These evaluations often require several years of data, are expensive to conduct, and typically are not performed on an annual basis for a given program. Internal control--"Internal control is defined as a process, effected by an agency's management and other personnel, designed to provide reasonable assurance that the objectives of the agency are being achieved in the following categories: o Effectiveness and efficiency of operations including the use of the entity's resources. o Reliability of financial reporting, including reports on budget execution, financial statements, and other reports for internal and external use. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  40. 40. GLOSSARY 35 _______________________________________________ __________________ o Compliance with applicable laws and regulations. A necessary implication or subset of these objectives is the safeguarding of agency assets against unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition. Consequently, the definition of internal control, as it relates to safeguarding assets can be extended to include processes, effected by an agency's management and other personnel, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention of or prompt detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the agency's assets." (From Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, Exposure Draft, U.S. GAO, December 1997.) Projection--The term "projection" refers to prospective financial information, including but not limited to prospective financial statements, based on one or more hypothetical assumptions or sets of assumptions. The hypothetical assumptions relate to future conditions and actions that may occur, but which are not necessarily deemed probable (unlike the case with forecasts). Both forecasts and projections may contain a range. ___________________________________________ Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board Concepts for Management's Discussion and Analysis April 1999
  41. 41. FASAB Board Members David Mosso, Chairman Linda Blessing (ending 2/26/99) James L Blum (ending 2/24/99) Barry B. Anderson (beginning 2/25/99) Philip T. Calder Donald H. Chapin Norwood Jackson Donald Hammond James E. Reid (ending 12/31/98) Kenneth J. Winter (beginning 1/1/99) Nelson Toye Wendy M. Comes, Executive Director Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board 441 G Street NW Suite 3B18 Washington, DC 20548 Telephone (202) 512-7350 FAX (202) 512-7366 www.financenet.gov/fasab.htm

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